Subject: Knock, knock, knock…
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Dan Hind (Police, Media, Chesh Engagement Unit)
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but…”
These are the devastating words that Cheshire Police Officers have had to say to 34 families so far this year when informing them that their loved ones has been killed in a road traffic collision.
Although these tragic incidents have been caused by a number of different factors, national estimates suggest that handheld mobile phones are a contributory factor in at least one in four collisions.
We want to make sure that yours is not the next door we’re knocking at, so starting on Monday 14 November the force will be taking part in a national week long operation targeting motorists who drive while using a handheld mobile phone.
Inspector Steve Griffiths, from the Cheshire Roads Policing Team, said: “As a Senior Investigator I’ve dealt with many serious and fatal collisions, and in recent years I’ve found that increasingly more of these incidents have involved mobile phones.
“Dealing with such cases is heart wrenching, and the hardest part is explaining to someone that a loved one has died because someone felt a phone call or text message was more important than a life.”
So far in 2016, Cheshire police officers have issued more than 2100 tickets to motorists who have been stopped for driving while using a mobile.
Anyone who is caught driving while using mobile phone faces the prospect of a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence, as well as an increase in their car insurance premium. This could result in the driver losing their license and even their job.
As well as enforcement, the campaign will also focus on educating drivers about the dangers of driving whist using a hand held device. Throughout the week long operation the force will be issuing l messages through the @CheshirePolice and @CheshPolTaskforce social media accounts.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire David Keane said: “Road safety is one of my priorities and it is pleasing to see the work that the Roads policing team is undertaking to help make Cheshire roads safer.
“I have great admiration for the work undertaken by our family liaison officers, who have the heartbreaking role of informing families that their loved ones have died.
“However, much of their work could be entirely avoidable if motorists paid more attention to the road, rather than their mobile phones.”
Inspector Griffiths added: “This operation is not just about issuing tickets, it’s also about educating motorists about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving to help prevent tragedies occurring.
“My advice is simply, if you’re driving a car, concentrate on the road and not your mobile phone. It could be the difference between life and death.”
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